As sales people; whether green or seasoned, selling paper or airplanes (or paper airplanes), a basic yet important part of our world is the cold call.
For starters, I’d like to point out that I am of the opinion that in this day of an almost infinite amount of information available at our fingertips through a variety of websites, there is really no such thing anymore as the true “cold call”. To the person on the other end of the line it may seem like a cold call, but anyone picking up a phone should first be spending 15-20 minutes using resources like LinkedIn, Facebook, personal & business websites and any relevant information a basic Google search may yield (to name a few). Some of these sites will actually allow you to adjust filters and conduct queries focused on areas of mutual interest. For example, an area of personal interest may be golf and you can conduct a search on LinkedIn to show you users in (or outside) your immediate network that have golf as a similar interest/hobby. A great search here would be to show anyone that may have attended or graduated from a school or university you went to. This is an immediate means of creating rapport with a prospect.
They may not know why you’re calling immediately, but having some common denominators will certainly make rapport building a less challenging task.
Building on our previous examples of researching similarities, it’s important to point out that unless we have a compelling reason to call in the first place, it doesn’t matter if we have an infinite number of similar interests – without a compelling reason to call, you ultimately end up wasting not only your time, but your prospects time as well.
On a basic level, a prospect directly engaging you with a query relating to a specific property is creating the compelling event/reason on their own. A more complex example would be using behavioral metrics/data provided by a comprehensive system you have adopted to help create that reason for calling. An individual registering on your site can be contacted and simply asked “thanks for visiting my site, I noticed that you are looking for homes priced from X to Y with these specific features/amenities. So that I can provide you with properties best matching your search criteria, I’m calling to verify that is in fact what you’re looking for. I also noticed that you’re looking in neighborhoods A, B and C and given that you’re relocating to the area, I wanted to make sure that you knew that you can also find similar homes in neighborhoods D, E and F.” After that, it can be a struggle to make sure that each and every subsequent contact is also of some relevance and not “how about that Bears game?” or “what do you think of this weather we’re having?” I previously mentioned using a system that will not only allow you to manage a pipeline and your book of business, but also one that gives the Real Estate Professional a glimpse into what the prospect is doing when they are actually on your website. An example of this would be, if the system you’re using gives you the ability to see what (for example) they’ve shared on various social media sites, “favorited” properties, personal notes on certain listings, you can use that information to have a good reason in reaching out whether that is by phone or by email. It is important to note that while a lot of internet prospects have a high level of technical acumen, not all are aware (and in some cases) can be leery of having their specific actions noted somewhere to people they don’t yet know and trust. You want to make sure that you’re exercising discretion in how much you know and what it is that you’re sharing. Calling right after they’ve shared something on Facebook and letting them know just that may scare some prospects off. So, as important as it is to use this information, it is equally important to know how and where to use it.
I hope this helps, best of luck out there!